Orioles score game's final 3 runs, beat Tigers 6-3

September 10, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec | Baltimore Sun reporter

DETROIT — It was another opportunity for the Orioles to feel sorry for themselves, to remember all the miscues, like the one Matt Wieters just made, that often multiplied earlier in the season.

A two-run, sixth-inning lead had just turned into a tie game when Wieters dropped Johnny Damon's foul pop-up, prolonging the at-bat long enough for Damon to work a walk. Miguel Cabrera then pounded a Kevin Millwood pitch into the left-field seats

But in continuing to flip the script from the first months of the season, the Orioles scored the game's final three runs and got some clutch work out of the bullpen to preserve a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in front of an announced 28,575.

The Orioles' fifth win in the last six games halted a five-game losing streak at Comerica Park and was the 10th victory in 12 series openers under manager Buck Showalter.

Wieters redeemed himself for the sixth-inning error by breaking the 3-3 deadlock with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning. Adam Jones hit an RBI single in the eighth and then Brian Roberts tacked on another insurance run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

The Orioles got three scoreless innings out of their bullpen as David Hernandez stranded Austin Jackson at third following his leadoff triple tokeep the game tied through the seventh. Jim Johnson pitched a scoreless eighth and then Koji Uehara was perfect in the ninth to pick up his eighth save.

Kevin Millwood pitched well, allowing three runs (two earned) over six innings, but he didn't factor in the decision. His biggest problem -- and he's not alone among American League pitchers with this -- is he couldn't get out Miguel Cabrera.

Cabrera, who had missed the Tigers' previous two games with shoulder soreness, plated the game's first run with an RBI double in the first inning. He then tied the game in the sixth with the two-run homer, his 34th of the season.

The obvious talk before the game was about umpire Jim Joyce's first series back in Detroit since his call at first base cost last night's starter Armando Galarraga a perfect game June 2 against the Cleveland Indians. Both Galarraga and Joyce said in the days leading up to the game that their reunion was no big deal, and that's exactly how it played out.

A couple of cameras flashed when Galarraga threw his first pitch with Joyce standing behind Tigers catcher Alex Avila, but there was little visible interaction between the umpire and pitcher and Joyce's presence was really never acknowledged by the Comerica Park crowd.

Galarraga pitched seven solid innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits and two walks.

Like Joyce, Millwood's last trip to Comerica Park wasn't particularly enjoyable either.

On July 5, the veteran right-hander was hammered for five earned runs on four hits and two walks in just an inning in the Orioles' 12-9 loss to the Tigers that started a series sweep. Following the start, Millwood was put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm.

Millwood's first inning struggled continued against last night, but he did well to limit the damage. Rookie Austin Jackson led off the game with an infield single, moved to second on Will Rhymes' sacrifice bunt and then took third on wild pitch.

Johnny Damon had the first opportunity to drive in a run, but he fouled out to first baseman Jake Fox. Millwood then appeared to be more than content to pitch around the American League RBI leader Cabrera as he fell behind 3-0. But Millwood challenged Cabrera with a 3-1 pitch and the Most Valuable Player candidate did what he normally does, smacking a double down the left-field line.

That gave Cabrera 111 RBIs on the season and marked the 14th time in his last 19 starts that Millwood gave up a first-inning run.

Millwood left Cabrera at third, striking out Ryan Raburn looking at a 3-2 changeup to end the inning. That started a stretch where he retired seven straight Tigers before he was again in trouble in the fourth.

Damon led off the inning with a bloop single to left field and after Cabrera fouled out, Raburn doubled into the right center-field gap, putting runners on second and third with one out. Millwood struck out rookie outfielder Brennan Boesch for a big second out and then got Jhonny Peralta to fly out to center to end the frame.

The Orioles got on the board in the second inning as back-to-back singles from Luke Scott and Matt Wieters put runners on the corners with no outs. They tied the game when Adam Jones hit into an inning-ending double play, but that also took away the possibility of a big inning.

In the fifth, Galarraga put the leadoff man on, hitting Jones in the left leg with a pitch. Two batters later, Fox hammered an 0-1 pitch and sent it deep into the left-field seats. Fox, who hadn't started since Aug. 29 and who had just one at-bat this month, was in the lineup because he was 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs against Galarraga entering the night.

The homer, which gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead, was his seventh of the season.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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